There is a growing imperative to better marshal available Earth observations of different types in support of ocean science and marine resource management applications for societal benefit.  There is also a related need to develop data infrastructures and services providing improved access to diverse observations for the oceans, that are proliferating rapidly in extent and type, so as to promote their more integrated and efficient usage.  The CEOS Ocean Variables Enabling Research and Applications for GEO (COVERAGE) initiative is a NASA-led research and development project and cross-cutting, collaborative effort within the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) that aims to address these key challenges.  In so doing, it aspires to help more fully realize the potential of satellite remote sensing data also among prospective, new data user communities which have a need for such products.

COVERAGE seeks to provide improved, more seamless access to inter-agency, multivariate satellite data spanning the four CEOS Ocean Virtual Constellations  - sea surface temperature, ocean vector winds, ocean surface topography, ocean color radiometry -  in support of a priority set of application use cases identified by stakeholders. It additionally seeks to demonstrate a technical framework facilitating more synergistic use of remote sensing and in-situ data for the oceans from distributed sources.  COVERAGE is a response to known needs of the ocean community for integrated access to data in support also of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDG) relating to marine biodiversity and sustainable, ecosystem-based management.


Overarching objectives of COVERAGE include:

  • Enable the more widespread use of ocean remote sensing data, particularly among communities with a need for satellite environmental information but perhaps lacking somewhat in capacity
  • Implement an advanced but intuitive platform providing improved access to value-added data and services
  • Demonstrate the potential of the technical system and approach in the context of a thematic pilot application
  • Provide a generally useful, foundational capability and informatics toolkit that can be reused


More specifically, COVERAGE aims to develop a data rich technology platform for more seamless delivery ocean data in a more analysis ready form to demonstrate the benefit of multivariate ocean data integration in support of science and applications:

  • “Fusion environment” leveraging emerging cloud-based infrastructure, largely existing software capabilities available open source
  • Distributed data system architecture
  • Curated aggregation of high quality, inter-agency multi-parameter observations
  • Coherent set of global ocean satellite products, collocated to a common grid, with overlapping temporal series and available near real-time (where possible)
  • Complemented by select in-situ datasets supporting target applications
  • Transparent access via the COVERAGE Thematic Portal, associated interactive tools and Web service APIs for machine-to-machine access
  • Illustrated in the context of a demonstration GEO-MBON application (GEO-Marine Biodiversity Observation Network)
  • User focused and community driven

Development Approach

COVERAGE development is occurring in four phases: A through D.  Phase-A (completed) was a technical scoping exercise for subsequent COVERAGE system development.  Activities included: formulation and engagement of the COVERAGE Advisory Board plus other project stakeholders, a detailed data inventory review, completion of the COVERAGE system architectural design, and definition of the target thematic application that will be used to illustrate COVERAGE capabilities.  Phase-B (completed), assembly of a prototype COVERAGE system and associated pilot demonstration application, officially began in October 2019 and ran for about a year.  Our Phase-C continuation project kicked of mid-June, 2021 and will run for the following 18 months through December 2022.  Key element of this follow-on activity include:

  • Continued community engagement, including NASA & CEOS stakeholders, advisory board, project partners
  • Hardening and further extension of prototype technical capabilities
  • Emphasis on higher resolution datasets and support for forward data streams
  • Continued development of a high resolution COVERAGE L4 Ocean Color dataset based on the JPL-MRVA algorithm
  • Expansion of thematic application use cases with a more regional focus
  • Operationalization concept & Sustainability plan development
  • CEOS and Ocean Decade US engagement on the UN Decade for the Ocean including advancement of the COVERAGE Ocean-Shot Concept: “Next Generation Data Service infrastructure for a Digitally Integrated Ocean Observing System in Support of Marine Science & Ecosystem Management”

The COVERAGE development team is based at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

COVERAGE development phases

Core principles underlying the COVERAGE development approach are:

  • Consultative: involving periodic engagement of project stakeholders, collaborators, and end-users
  • Responsive: Regular presentation and agile software development/review cycles
  • Open: open communication, open data, open source software
  • Standards-based emphasis: data interoperability, exchange protocols, software architecture


COVERAGE is a collaborative initiative within the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) involving contributions from several agencies and collaborations with external partnering organizations.  Areas of collaboration range from the technical, to data sharing and cloud hosting support, to the development of programmatic synergies.  The COVERAGE project appreciates these various contributions.


Advisory Board

COVERAGE has an external advisory board that serves in a general oversight, guidance and facilitator capacity.  It is comprised of members from multiple stakeholder agencies with connections to CEOS expert working groups and beyond that have a direct interest in aspects of the project and its successful evolution.

Agencies represented in the COVERAGE advisory board